GRAPHIC: Officer to be fired after fatally shooting knife-wielding Arizona man on mobility scooter
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD/Gray News) - A Tucson police officer is being terminated after he shot and killed a man in a mobility scooter who was armed with a knife, Chief Chris Magnus said Tuesday.
Magnus said shortly before 6 p.m. Monday, an employee at a Walmart went to officer Ryan Remington, a four-year veteran of the force who was working off-duty security at the store, and said 61-year-old Richard Lee Richards, who was in a scooter, allegedly stole a toolbox from the store.
According to Magnus, the employee and Remington followed Richards and asked for a receipt. Richards responded, “Here’s your receipt,” pulled out a knife and kept moving, KOLD reported.
Video from the incident was played during a news conference Tuesday. Below is an edited, but still graphic, version of that video that shows the first few shots. KOLD has chosen not to show the whole video due to its graphic nature. The full video can be viewed HERE.
The employee told investigators that Richards said, “If you want me to put down the knife, you’re going to have to shoot me.”
Another officer, Stephanie Taylor, arrived just as Richards reached the garden center of the nearby Lowe’s Home Improvement.
Remington then told Richards to not enter the store, but Richards ignored him. Remington shot Richards nine times, causing him to fall out of his scooter. Richards died at the scene.
It could be at least a week until Remington could be officially fired.
According to the police department’s general orders, the request must first be submitted to the city attorney’s office for legal review. The employee must then be notified of the termination.
From there, the internal affairs office has no more than seven days to schedule a pre-discharge review where the employee can argue against termination. Following the review, panel members decide whether to recommend termination. The recommendation is then given to the chief of police for final approval.
In Tuesday’s news conference, Magnus said he was “deeply disturbed and troubled” by Remington’s actions, which he called excessive use of force. Remington was terminated Tuesday, according to Magnus.
“His use of deadly force in this incident is a clear violation of department policy and directly contradicts multiple aspects of our use of force and training,” Magnus said.
The case is under review by the Pima County Attorney’s Office.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero called the officer’s actions “unconscionable and indefensible” and said the investigation has her full support.
“It is moments like this that test our resolve to ensure justice and accountability,” Romero said. “We owe this to all Tucsonans. I ask our community to remain calm and be patient as investigations ensue.”
According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Richards has a long criminal history.
In 1981, he was found guilty of burglary and sentenced to seven years in prison. In 1986, he was convicted of armed robbery and was sentenced to 15 years.
In 2007, he was convicted of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault and resisting arrest. He was released in January 2018.
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